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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

July 17, 2009 at 11:09 AM

Notes, quotes and anecdotes from around MLB

  • As we’ve documented, the Royals are getting ripped royally for acquiring Yuniesky Betancourt (who will be activated from the DL and start tonight). Here’s the response of Royals’ general manager Dayton Moore: “He’s one of those wild horses. If you can get him tamed, you’ve got a chance to win the race.”

    Did someone say, “Wild Horses?”

  • Jim Riggleman continues his career as a professional interim manager, taking over a situation in Washington that might be even more messed up than the situation he took over last year in Seattle. We wish him well, because he’s a good guy. I’m sure he hopes he earns the job permanently, but if not (and I’d say it’s a longshot, at best), maybe next year Riggleman can tie Jimmy Dykes’ distinction of being a mid-season managerial replacement three straight years: Reds (1958), Tigers (1959) and Indians (1960).

  • Before Roy Halladay, the last pitcher of that stature to be traded with at last a year still remaining before free agency was Johan Santana from the Twins to the Mets.

    They just called up Kevin Mulvey, one of the players in the trade, to be essentially their 12th pitcher. He was 3-6 with a 3.93 ERA in 18 starts in Triple-A. Center-fielder Carlos Gomez, probably the key to the deal, definitely has potential to emerge as a star, but he’s hitting .235. Philip Humber made the Twins’ Opening Day roster but is back in the minors and has a 4-6 record with a 5.86 ERA at Class AAA Rochester.

    The Twins got one other player in the deal, 20-year-old pitcher Deolis Guerra. He was recently promoted to Class AA after going 6-8 with a 4.69 ERA for Class A Fort Myers.

    Still too early to write off this trade from the Twins’ standpoint, but it’s developing more slowly than they hoped.

  • Tucson will officially be without major-league spring training after after next spring. The White Sox pulled out last year to move to Glendale, Ariz. And now the Diamondbacks and Rockies, the last two remaining teams, have signed a memorandum of understanding with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community to share spring training complex that will be ready in 2011.

    The location of the facility is 10 miles northeast of Scottsdale Stadium.

    When I first started covering spring training in the mid-1980s, we used to make road trips to Tucson, Yuma and Palm Springs. Now you don’t have to leave greater Phoenix. I miss those trips, but not too much.

  • Stop me if you’ve heard this one, but it’s almost Scott Boras showtime. Teams have until Aug. 17 to sign their draft pick or else they lose their rights to those players. So far, just 11 of the 32 first-round picks have signed. Boras is the “advisor” to six of the unsigned players, including the top three — which includes, of course, Dustin Ackley, picked No. 2 overall by the Mariners. Boras also represents No. 1 Stephen Strasburg , the pitcher selected No. 1 by Washington, and No. 3 Donovan Tate (outfielder, Padres), as well as pitcher Jacob Turner (No. 9, Tigers); shortstop Grant Green (No. 13, Oakland) and second baseman LeVon Washington (Tampa Bay, No. 30).

  • Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register notes that the Angels reached the All-Star break in first place for the third consecutive season and fourth time in the past five years. They won the division in each of those previous years they were in first at the break. But they got there this time with a smaller lead (1 ½ games up on the Rangers) and fewer wins (49) than any of the previous years.

    As Plunkett notes, for the first six weeks of the season, the Angels’ battle cry was that

    everything would be fine once John Lackey, Ervin Santana and Vladimir Guerrero got back from the DL. Guerrero is back on theDL, and the Angels’ starting pitching has actually gotten worse since Lackey and Santana came back in mid-May. Their cobbled-together rotation for the first 34 games had a collective ERA of 3.78 (top three in the AL). In 52 games after that (through the All-Star break), Angels starters had an ERA of 5.20. Santana, Lackey and Joe Saunders have all struggled of late. But, that said, the Angels find a way to win, and they had to be highly encouraged by the gem Santana pitched last night in Oakiand.

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